The television was the only source of light in the room as Brian and Stephanie sat watching a movie. They sat should to shoulder, Brian forever contemplating if he should put his hand on her knee. He decided against it.
“Enjoying the movie?” He asked.
Stephanie nodded, “Yes, are you?”
“I am,” Brian replied. ‘Brian, this is lame, do something.’ He could hear Nick’s voice in his head, he beat it back. Brian wanted to take his time to get to know Stephanie. They’d hung out several times, but she still seemed very guarded.
As the credits began to roll, Brian turned towards Stephanie. He was determined to learn more about this woman’s past. “Stephanie, I’m glad you listened to my problems that day. And I’m really glad you agreed to meet with me again even after seeing me as a blubbering fool.” He laughed and watched her face break into a smile.
“Brian, I can’t fault you for that. Getting a letter from the grave must be very heart wrenching.” Her eyes looked sad, but her smile remained implanted on her face.
He turned off the movie and turned to the news. A new serial killer had popped up killing people with timers about to zero out and the news was reporting on him. Brian breathed a sigh of relief when it was confirmed the killer had been caught.
“That’s just horrible,” Stephanie commented, “Kills them right before they find true love.”
“Made me glad I didn’t have a timer and now I don’t really care to get one.” He shrugged and looked towards Stephanie, hoping she would talk about her feelings.
“I think I still want to get one. Serial killers show up all the time killing specific people. I wouldn’t let it stop me. I almost have enough money saved to finally get one.” She smiled at Brian.
“So you definitely are getting a timer?” Brian asked.
She picked up her soda and took a drink before answering. “Yes, the world is so uncertain now I’d like something that I can be sure of, and I don’t need a broken heart again.”
Brian felt a little down, he’d hoped Stephanie would feel the same way about timers as he did. “Who broke your heart?”
Stephanie shook her head. “I don’t like to talk about it much.” Brian moved closer and put his hand on her knee, encouraging her to continue.
“I’ll tell you,” she said with finality. “I also lost someone dear to me in a car accident. It was a little more than a year ago; I loved him with all my heart.” Her eyes got teary but she held up her hand when Brian moved closer to her to comfort her.
“I was packing his stuff a few months before you agreed to hang out with me and I stumbled across a little velvet box and inside was a ring. He was going to propose,” The tears were falling freely now and she had no objections when Brian moved closer taking her in his arms.
When her sobs subsided she moved away from Brian and grabbed a tissue.
“This is why you want a timer?” He asked.
She nodded, wiping her eyes with the tissue.
He wanted to yell at her that the timer would not solve all uncertainties, that life still had curveballs. Just because you had a timer attached to your arm telling you when you would meet your one true love, something could still go wrong and that person could die, before or after you’d met. He calmly said, “You know a timer won’t prevent accidents.”
“No, but it will keep me from dating a bunch of losers to find the next right one,” She smiled, her eyes still red and puffy from crying.
“Can I ask then, why did you want to go out with me? Why start hanging out with me if you are only going to get a timer and then either string me along or run off waiting for love?” Brian was feeling a mix of heartbreak and anger. Why would anyone start something they had no intention of seeing out?
“I like you Brian, I have since I started working for Mr. Mitchell. I wanted to spend time with you. I would love it if you were my one, but the chances of that, admit it they are slim. You are a Backstreet Boy and I’m an assistant to a music executive and a fan. Frankly, I’m shocked every time you call me.”
“The chances are slim? Yet here we are.” Brian stood and began pacing.
“I’m sorry if you are hurt, I set my mind to get one before I met you.” Stephanie shrugged and attempted to stop Brian from pacing. He shrugged off her hand and moved further away.
“I need time to think,” He said.
Stephanie moved closer to him again. “Brian, I love hanging out with you. Please don’t let this ruin our friendship.” She tried to hug him good-bye but when he moved away again she grabbed her purse and left.